Refrigerators don't cool food; rather they remove heat and moisture from an enclosed space, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il. They also slow the growth of bacteria. Most refrigerators have two compartments: one for freezing and one for chilling, says Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. Although they appear to be separate, in most models, they share the same air( all of which is cooled by a single system), which is transferred from one compartment to the other by a gatelike device called a baffle. That's why storing an uncovered dish of pasta with garlic in the refrigerator will eventually result in ice in the freezer compartment with the same flavor.
Refrigerators can account for up to 25 % of household energy costs. Although new models are much more energy efficient, it's still wise when making a new purchase to look for the Energy Star label, which means the appliance meets government standards for low energy consumption. When considering capacity, which is measured in cubic feet, a good rule of thumb is to allow 12 cubic feet of space for the first two members of the family and 4 cubic feet for each additional member. Check the contents daily to see if anything needs to be thrown away. Here are a few additional guidelines as per Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook:
1. Plug your refrigerator (and freezer, if it's separate) into a grounded outlet: never use an extension cord.
2. Cover food in airtight wrap. The refrigerator ( and freezer) draws moisture out of food, whether it's lettuce or an uncovered bowl of leftovers. Even eggs, with their porous shells, will stay fresher longer when refrigerated in their cartons.
3. Never store foods or other items on top of the refrigerator, which can be warm, particularly bottles of cooking oil, which turn rancid when exposed to heat.
4. Keep the refrigerator three-quarters full to ensure it runs at optimum efficiency for the lowest cost. This allows plenty of room for air to circulate.
5. Neutralize odors by placing an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator. Replace the box every three months and don't forget to mark the box with the date you opened it.
Wiping up spills as they occur and quickly will keep your refrigerator clean and fresh smelling, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il.